WHO inaugurates Emergency Operations Center in Pakistan.
Islamabad : World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala inaugurated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the flood response in the premises of the District Health Office.The EOC was established with the support of WHO Pakistan in collaboration with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department. On this occasion, Dr. Palitha Mahipala while talking to the media said the WHO was fully aware of the devastation of recent floods in Pakistan, which affected 33 million populations and over two million households.After that 6.4 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, he added.He said the WHO had already set up 10 EOCs in different other parts of the country “We have come out with a strong plan to support people, government and health authorities to respond extremely well in flood affected areas. The first wave of disaster comes with very much devastation while the second wave will be the diseases like Malaria, dengue and others,” he said.He said the establishment of this center was aimed at coordinating efforts with all the partners and donors to respond to the flood situation in D.I.Khan more effectively. It would also help district administration and health authorities in delivering needed services in a more effective manner.“Today we have donated a large quantity of medicines which are needed for the patients in medical camps,” Dr. Palitha Mahipala mentioned. He said “the WHO has undertaken to renovate 10 health facilities which are partially damaged partially besides taking four houses on rent to restore health facilities which are fully damaged.”He expressed the commitment that the WHO would support the district health authority in the provision of all the necessary equipment, medicines, and human resource as well. He informed that a nutrition stabilization center is also being established which will start responding to the nutrition situation in the district within a week.The WHO representative in Pakistan said a lot of efforts were underway and the organization was continuously there to support the people in D I Khan. He said the WHO will also extend its support for the rehabilitation of the health sector in Dera Ismail Khan.Replying to a question, Dr. Palitha Mahipala said he will also visit Tank district to meet the district health authorities.This center would also extend its services to Tank and South Waziristan. Dr. Palitha Mahipala appreciated the district health department for a well-mannered response to the flood situation and Malaria disease which is on rise.Speaking on this occasion, District Health Officer (DHO) Mehmood Jan thanked the WHO representatives for the establishment of EOC and the provision of other support to the district health department.He said the WHO representative fulfilled their all demands, including the restoration of four health facilities in rental buildings for six months which were not in functioning position after the flood. The WHO team also promised to renovate 10 damaged health facilities besides solarization of these facilities where needed. The WHO team also committed to provide all the needed medicines.Replying to a question about the dengue virus, he said the dengue virus was also under control so far despite its high risk due to the recent floods. He informed that 90 cases of dengue were reported across the district during last year while this year only 28 cases were reported.This time only five dengue patients were admitted to the Mufti Mehmood Hospital and none of them was in any serious condition. He said no death was reported due to the dengue virus since last year.Earlier, while briefing the WHO team, Dr Asad of district health department informed that 22 health facilities were partially damaged with the recent floods while four health facilities including BHU Rasheed, BHU Garra Madda, CD Ratta Kulachi and CD Garra Rehman were completely damaged.About disease trends in flood medical camps, he said 9145 patients of Diarrhea were reported, 8937 patients of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), 9887 with skin-related issues, 1519 patients of Eye diseases, 246 typhoid suspects, 905 malaria suspects, and 710 people with different injuries.Describing the Dengue trends, Dr. Asad informed that 43 cases were reported in May, only one case in June, two in July, 13 in August and 27 in the current month. About Malaria, he said the malaria disease was on rise after floods as 2252 positive cases were reported when conducted 15285 tests during current month subsequently 1887 in August against 18800 test and 885 against 14667 test in July this year.About the challenges of the Health Department, Dr Asad demanded of the WHO team that “We need emergency medicines, rental space and solarized prefabricated structure for 06 areas where the buildings are not safe for service delivery, vehicles for medicines supply and field operations to areas with damaged roads access, provision of mental health services in flood affected areas, and rehabilitation of 22 flood affected health facilities along with solarization. The WHO team agreed to fulfill all the demands made by the district health department.